lunch break

So I’m sitting here at my desk, in my office, on my lunch break.


I know, back up, right?  Job?  Wha?  What happened to “embracing my inner housewife”?


Well, turns out that doesn’t pay well, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to sit around for most of the day when I could be out earning a paycheck, so the last week or so finds me working at Northwest University in Kirkland, admin assistant-ing away for the Office of Student Development.

There’s a lot wrapped up in this for me.  Having worked in a residence hall for the last ten years, simple things like driving to work have been a huge adjustment.  Turns out it’s not that bad, only 35 minutes or so.  And there are several other pros and cons:

Con: Bentley now stays home alone for the majority of the day.  Joel has been a rockstar and tries to work from the house as much as possible so the pup can at least stay out in the living room and play with Nikki, but it’s hard to explain to clients that you can’t meet at 9am because you have to play stay-at-home-dad to a 7-month-old beagle puppy.

Pro: We own four laptops, two of which have webcams, so I’ve set up a ustream channel starring Bentley the Beagle that broadcasts to the world while I’m away from the house.  The majority of the time it features Bentley curled up in the far corner of our kitchen.  Occasionally, however, when Joel is home and the kitchen door is open, I get to see Nikki as well.  Or Joel dancing a little jig for my enjoyment.  Whichever.

Con: My office has no windows, and that flourescent lighting that gives me a headache.

Pro: Joel, again playing the role of rockstar, took me to Bed Bath & Beyond to buy some decor, including a small meditative desk fountain and cinnamon scented candle.  Also, when I was complaining about the lack of windows in my office at Bible study, the general response sounded something like, “You have an office?!  A nice, quiet, private office?!”  Apparently I need to shut up with the whining.

Con: I have to get up at 7am in order to be at work by 9am, and I work until 6pm.

Pro: I don’t work Fridays.

Con: I hate, hate, hate being the new person.  I hate not knowing anyone, not knowing my way around, having to figure out a new copier and coffee maker.

Pro: I’ve never worked in such a welcoming office before, and my new boss, the Vice President of Student Development, is a lovely and well-organized man.

Con: My biggest job so far has been entering several hundred parking permits into a brand new database, in the process learning that the most popular vehicles on the Northwest University campus are Honda Accords and Volkswagen Jettas.

Pro: I’m not wearing a pager, responding to suicidal and/or mentally disturbed students, or being yelled at by over-protective and anxious parents.

Con: I’ve been somewhat bored most days.

Pro: I get to listen to a lot of TBTL, even participating in the 10.15 episode, and finding new and exciting web pages.

Really, if I had to score everything out, I’d say the pros, although equal in number to the cons, are carrying a little more weight. 

So that’s the update.  That’s the reason for the blogging hiatus.  Hopefully there will be more lunch break postings, but for now I’m going to try to enter another 374 parking passes into a brand new, slightly buggy database.


Dear Bentley

RE: your recent de-beaning

Wow, it’s been a long week, hasn’t it?  Actually, you probably don’t remember most of it, seeing as how up until yesterday you were in a semi-permanent Benadryl and sedative induced fog.  Allow me to fill in the details.

Last week we took you to the vet.  You love the vet, mostly because those nice ladies stuff you with treats while they poke around your nether regions.  Honestly, it’s amazing what you’ll allow people to do to you if they offer you a milkbone.  Anyway, I’m sure you realized this visit was different because a) we were out of the house before 8am, bypassing our normal two-hour post-wake-up-pre-Regis-and-Kelly nap, and b) I handed you over to one of those nice ladies, leaving you with only your blanket, and promptly left.  I even took your collar.  Oddly, you look somewhat naked without it, like Donald Duck without his shirt or Yogi Bear with no tie. 

I’m not sure what happened while I was gone.  I mean, scientifically I know what happened, but no need to traumatize you with that information.  All you need to know is that you went to sleep, and when you woke up you were hopefully somewhat less likely to destroy furniture and household items, and absolutely unable to make any Bentley babies.

When I came to pick you up, I could hear you whimpering in the background.  At first I wasn’t sure it was you, and the tech said it only started when she would walk away from the lab area, and would stop as soon as she returned, so she wasn’t sure which dog it was, either.  I’m going to assume it was you, because you’re a bit of a whiner.  I paid a much-too-high bill for all the procedures (note: this would all be a little less expensive if you hadn’t passed out the first time they drew blood and urine to check on this unending bladder infection you seem to have, so thanks for that).  They brought you out from the back, complete with your own Elizabethan collar, and you rolled your head to meet my gaze when you heard my voice.

“So here are all his medications,” said the tech, handing me a bag full of bottles.  “You can start them all in the morning.  I’m sure he won’t need to be sedated tonight.”  Looking at you I was prone to agree.  You looked like you’d been drinking, and I wondered for a moment if it was possible for a dog to have a hangover.  “Just be sure he stays fairly still for the next 10 days.  The first three to four days will be the most important.  No running or jumping or playing with other dogs.”  This order loomed large in my head, but surely you wouldn’t be feeling up to running around at your normal speed, right? 

I dropped you in the back of the Land Rover, in your usual spot, on your puppy bed, and got into the driver’s seat.  Unfortunately I had a few errands to run, so it took us some time to get home.  I assumed you’d just sleep through it.  I assumed incorrectly, and the pitiful noises you continued to make from the back of the car prompted me to move you to the passenger seat.  I know, I know.  This is incredibly dangerous for both of us.  However, once you were able to see me, you fell asleep, like a toddler being forced to sleep in his own bed for the first time.

We got back to the house and I carried you inside.  You promptly ran your normal circuit around the living room, under the dining room table, down the hallway and back again, detouring every time you ran into Nikki and received one of her threatening growls.  The only time you stopped was when you tried to wiggle through the narrow space between the couch and the end table.  The cone around your head made you twice as wide as normal, and you didn’t seem to understand why the space had suddenly shrunk.

Contrary to the tech’s earlier statement, I gave you two doses of sedatives that night.

The next morning I called the vet to ask how important, I mean really, is it that big a deal, if you run around the house a few times a day?  I mean, all the stitches are on the inside, and you didn’t seem to be in any pain, so is it that much of an issue?

“Oh, yes,” vet tech #2 told me. ” Ten days.”

“Really?  You only gave me sedatives for the next four days.”

“I’ll get you some more,” she said.  “You won’t abuse them.”

“No, I won’t be taking any of my dog’s sedatives,” I replied.

“Oh, I mean if Bentley were my dog I’d be giving him sedatives all the time!” she laughs.

I suddenly remembered that this is the tech who has a blind and deaf rescue pug, and who has warned me several times not to let you get too rough with Nikki or she might end up in the same condition.  She likes to joke about your hyperactivity, which to me seems minimal, but if you have a blind and deaf dog then I could see where a Beagle puppy might seem a little much.  Still, though…really?  Am I right?  Feel free to chew on her shoelaces next time we’re there.

She instructed me to keep you in your crate for the next ten days, and to intersperse the eight-hour doses with Benadryl.  At first this felt overwhelming, but soon I found myself taking full advantage of the free time.  That first night I had held you in an attempt to keep you quiet, and you shook in my arms as the anesthesia wore off.  I initially pictured the next week being spent on the couch, remote control at the ready, forcibly holding you in my lap while you squirmed.  The crate, though, worked like magic.  It started to seem cruel to force you to be out of it.  When we had you with us, you acted like a sleep-deprived kid, doing everything you could to stay awake and enjoy the action around you.  The crate brought you merciful sleep.

So unbeknownst to you, as you snoozed in your tiny room, lights out, white noise machine on, covered with a blanket, I was getting things done for the first time in four months.  Most days I walk around the house with you quite literally nipping at my heels, trying to chew on my sweatpants or socks while I work on the computer, trying to crawl inside the dishwasher as I load it, trying to jump in my lap while I’m eating breakfast or lunch.  With you out of the way, everything took half as long to complete, and I could leave the house for hours at a time to run errands and not worry about whether or not you were going to finally accomplish your goal of jumping onto the low counter in the kitchen where I keep the fruit.

But I’ll tell you a secret, Bentley: I was lonely.  The house was a little too quiet.  Sure, you snored and whimpered occasionally.  Gosh, those were the most pitiful of whimpers I’ve ever heard out of you or any other creature, including Joel, who can be pretty pitiful himself.  And when you were out you wanted to play, but I had to force you to be still.  I missed our morning cuddles.  When I tried to hold you in my lap you would choose instead to wander around the house like a zombie, trying to sniff through the cone.

By the way, you loved that cone.  You had little trouble doing your business outside with it on, resulting in more accidents in the house than you’ve had the entire time you’ve been a part of our little family, so we started to take it off when we took you outside.  You always tried to grab it from us, and you would sit and hold perfectly still when we put it back on, then prance away like you were sporting a new suit when it was back in place.  I think it was because you scared the bejeezus out of Nikki when you had it on.  I think you liked that.

After a week I couldn’t take it anymore.  You didn’t seem the least bit interested in your surgery wounds, and you didn’t have any stitches you could have pulled out, anyway (thank goodness for surgical glue, right?).  You nearly rubbed your IV sore raw, but you got over that quickly as well.  And it seemed wrong to keep you sedated for so long.  Sure, I’ve been paranoid for the last 24 hours, checking your tummy obsessively for swelling.  But it’s worth it to have you back, to get you back on a schedule, and to have my little buddy back on the couch with me in the mornings and evenings.  Plus, that cone was really starting to smell.

So, Little Beans, that’s what happened this week.  And, consequently, that’s where your new nickname came from.  If we were really being accurate we’d probably call you No Beans, but no need to rub it in, right?